What is a Listing Agent & Do You Need One?

by | Jul 8, 2021 | Real Estate Glossary, Selling

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Selling a house is often stressful and challenging. Luckily, a real estate seller’s agent can help provide services that advise and guide the seller from listing a property and throughout the process of selling a home. 

What is a listing agent? 

A listing agent carries out various duties such as marketing, agent management, and staging advice. While the seller is paying the agent a commission to sell the home, the agent is also  bound by the laws of the state to do their best to sell their client’s property.

A listing agent (also referred to as a seller’s agent), is a broker or real estate agent that represents the seller in a property transaction. It is necessary for the listing agent to have an active real estate license in the state of the property they are selling. 

How are listing agents different from real estate agents? 

Listing agents are simply agents on one particular side of the transaction, the seller’s side. So in other words, listing or seller’s agents support the seller. Buyer’s agents support the buyer. Both types of agents are real estate agents and are often necessary to complete a real estate transaction. 

What listing agents do

  • Price your home – Your seller’s agent should help you determine at what price to list your home. To recommend a price your  agent should look at comparable homes, market trends, and your specific home’s location and improvements.
  • Prepare your home –  A high-quality seller’s agent will make you aware of what the property needs to ensure it brings the best price. Your agent should provide tips for staging your house so it looks its best when buyers tour the property. 
  • Devise a plan – It’s essential to know how your listing agent is going to make your property stand out and increase the number of showings of your home. They should have a plan for determining buyer prospects and how to market to them effectively. They should also be aware of the seller’s personal finances in the event repairs or upgrades are recommended. 
  • Arrange professional photographyAlmost 90 percent of buyers searching for properties online make a decision based on pictures. It’s essential for seller’s agents to arrange for professional photography so they can properly market your home.
  • Communicate regularly – Your agent should prepare a report for the sellers each week to make them aware of everything they are doing to market and sell the property.
  • Negotiate – The listing agent should be a fierce negotiator. Part of the job is to help ensure they get you the best offer possible. Remember, price is only one part of the offer. The agent will negotiate on your behalf and get you the best terms on things including closing date, repairs/concessions, commissions, and of course price.  
  • Manage contract process – A seller’s agent will need to be incredibly detailed so they stay on top of all details and deadlines to keep the sale progressing and ultimately get you to the closing table.

How are listing agents compensated?

Listing agents don’t receive any payment unless the seller’s home sells. If the house does get sold, the typical agent commissions paid out at closing is around 6% of the price of the seller’s home – and these commissions are typically split 50/50 between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent. 

How to choose the right listing agent

Listing Experience

These are some questions to consider when evaluating a listing agent’s experience in the industry. 

  • How many homes have they sold? Has the agent sold many homes in the same area the seller is located? If not, can they explain why? Experience is a key aspect of selecting the right listing agent.
  • How long did those homes take to sell? Days-on-market (DOM) is impacted by the overall real estate housing market, However, as an agent becomes more experienced, their ability to sell homes more quickly should increase. 
  • How much did the homes sell for? In what price range did the agent sell most of their homes? If it’s a wide variety or also roughly the value of the seller’s home, then that’s great. If not, then this could pose an issue for the seller. 
  • Is being a listing agent their full-time job? An agent that works part-time is not typically a problem, if the agent has experience and is still fully committed, but the seller will want to gauge the agent’s availability for communication during their off-hours.

Building a relationship with sellers

A good listing agent should make you feel at ease about the sale of your home. This means providing industry expertise, communicating effectively, and guiding you through the process effectively. Ask these questions to ensure the listing agent is right for you.

  • Does the listing agent have advice about the home’s condition? There are many things a seller can do  to improve the sales price of their home. If a listing agent is good at what they do, they’ll work with the seller to recommend improvements. 
  • What is their marketing plan? Capable listing agents typically have a standard approach to real estate marketing, whether it’s for social media, open houses, photography, etc. 
  • Can they recommend contractors, photographers, moving companies, etc.? Every house is different, thus having different needs for marketing, showing and so on. Does the listing agent have multiple recommendations in their home-selling toolkit?
  • How often will the agent touch base with the seller? It’s important for a listing agent to understand what communication methods are preferred by the seller: text, phone, email, etc. The agent should also be sure to provide consistent updates through the selling process. 
  • Are they planning any vacations? Everybody likes and deserves time off from work, but what will be the agent’s back-up plan, if they’re not available while the seller is trying to get their house sold?

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Do you really need a listing agent?

The internet has definitely changed the way people shop for homes. In fact, half of the homes purchased in 2016 were found online by buyers. But still 90 percent of sellers used a listing agent to market that house online and elsewhere.

A seller can certainly also go the “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) route too when they have a property for sale, but they might consider enlisting the help of a professional. Unfortunately, in some cases it might even be a necessity, as some buyer’s agents will not even show houses that aren’t represented by listing agents. 

Find a listing agent you can trust

We can help you and save you thousands in real estate commissions. Trelora serves the most of Colorado, Seattle metro, Phoenix, and Raleigh, and we have a simple mission: full service real estate for a fraction of the cost. When you hire a traditional agent to help you sell your home, you pay that agent 3% of the home’s value (up to 6%, since you’re paying for the buyer’s agent too). When you hire Trelora, you pay one flat fee.
Trelora offers best-in-class customer service, a team of expert agents that close hundreds of deals per year and a proprietary technology platform that puts you in the driver’s seat. 

Thinking About Buying Or Selling A Home?

Get the best real estate advice from local experts in your inbox.

Thinking about buying or selling a home?

Get the best real estate advice from local experts in your inbox.